I was recently contacted by a new author who has had a rather frustrating experience since publishing her first book, and so thought I'd share some of her story in the spirit of 'Buyer Beware – Publishing Traps for the Unwary'.
This highly qualified writer – she's a PhD and lecturer in literature – was inspired to write a book on self-esteem for youth, and when finding a publisher seemed too difficult, she signed up with what is known in the industry as a 'vanity press'.
My daughter has been recovering from a very unpleasant biking accident that left her with some pretty severe tyre burn. Naturally we both turned our minds to the question, 'Why? Where is the hidden order?'
To help us find a meaningful answer, I read her a segment out of Way of the Wealthy - 7 Financial Laws & Universal Principles That Will Transform Your Life by Tim Marlowe and Jim Hanna.
A businessman is feeling suicidal after his business is hijacked by his manager, leaving him literally locked out of the premises and robbing him of some $250,000.00 of assets, as well as his employees and clients.
If you've seen the movie, The Help, you'll recognise the phrase, "You is kind, you is smart, you is important" as the greeting that black maid Aibileen gives each day to her young white charge.
As a young mother, Aibileen's own son was put in someone else's care while she went out to work, and then, in the prime of his life, he is killed in a workplace accident. But instead of drowning in resentment, she lavishes her love and blessings upon the daughter of her indifferent and sometimes cruel employers.
Those of you who have heard me speak know that the process I’ve been through since writing The Mastery Club has been quite transformational. I went from a place where my family was in breakdown and I had effectively given up on my dreams as a writer to having a renewed and much stronger family and realising some of my dearest dreams.
The journey I have been on since I first began jotting ideas for The Hidden Order has been extraordinary – confronting – intense – unsettling, and it has honestly transformed my life – again! But before I share that, I’d like to go back in time so you can understand why and how I embarked on this journey in the first place.
Synchronicity strikes again. A few weeks ago I was invited to Unity Church to hear a friend speak, and while there I happened to meet a young woman of indigenous heritage, Rachel Shields. I'd been wanting to open the Book Launch with an Aboriginal Acknowledgement of Land and Ancestors, and here was the perfect person to do so. How perfect even I did not yet know.
This morning Rachel came to visit me, bearing a gift that I will bring to the Launch, and empowering us to create our own Acknowledgement ceremony. She also suggested another simple ritual that we will carry out, so be prepared for an afternoon that will reach out to all your senses!
No, it's not a new Harry Potter book – although it sounds like one, doesn't it! It's my reflections about the presence of universal laws in the Harry Potter books, and particularly two favourites of mine, The Law of Polarity, discussed in The Mastery Club, and The Law of Conservation, introduced in The Hidden Order.
When I began reading the Harry Potter series to my son 11 years ago, I was bothered by the emphasis on 'evil' – the whole series is about resisting/fighting/defending against evil. At one level the books are a great demonstration that 'what we resist, persists' (this thought gave me an idea for another novel for youth that I'm currently writing), however the more I studied Dr Demartini's work, the more I realised that while the 'resist persists' idea might be true, there will always be an element of evil in the world, whether we like it or not.
A rather wonderful new family 'tradition' was instigated a few months ago among the women in my family. In fact, we stumbled upon it during a birthday conversation. It began when I shared a personal story, a story that unleashed similar stories from my sisters and nieces, and we found ourselves sharing some of the 'skeletons in our closets'...
Listening to each other's secrets is a very bonding process but I feel its power goes beyond that. Our secrets often carry shame and guilt, and by sharing them we invariably discover that others have experienced something similar, and some of the shame and guilt is dissolved. We discover that we are all human beings facing challenges, feeling confused, making choices, sometimes regretting them... By revealing our inner selves, we validate each other's journeys in ways that can't happen when we hold those secrets close to our chests.
My partner's family holds their family Christmas on Boxing Day, and this year we received an intriguing invitation to start a new tradition. The Rawson family had recently agreed to give a donation to charity instead of giving Christmas gifts; a few days before we were due to meet, my sister-in-law, Jo, came up with another new idea: to evolve the old tradition of exchanging boxes filled with gifts into a new tradition of sharing boxes filled with personal thoughts and insights and wishes.
Coming from a Jewish family, Christmas was never part of my childhood identity, and when I 'married into' the tradition, I was struck by many contradictions. In particular the much commented on commercialisation of Christmas. I always found it odd to hear people talking about Christmas shopping as if it was an expected duty (read: burden) – 'Have you done your Christmas shopping yet?'
I've been experiencing a little rash of minor health issues in the last few months. Looking back on the year, I notice that it's been pretty full on. You know how they measure stress and reckon that separation and moving house are high on the Stress Richter Scale? Well, here's my list (so far!) ...
I'm so proud of my son, Jeremy. A few weeks ago he moved out of home for the first time, bursting with the excitement of being truly independent. (The rest of the household quickly reorganised the house so that our daughters now have their own rooms – they're rapt! – and we have more efficient office space, and so we were hoping he wouldn't find that he couldn't manage and had to come back home, as there isn't any room for him anymore... A bit like that ad on TV where the 'young adult-child' returns home only to find his old bedroom is now a new bathroom.)
In Jeremy's case, I'm pretty sure that, no matter how tough it gets, he won't be back. He is determined to live independently. And he is certainly stepping up to the challenge.
Last week I went shopping with my 16 year old twin daughters to buy new shoes for their respective hobbies: ballet pointe shoes for one daughter and soccer boots for the other. I rather loved that outing because it was such a confirmation of our trust in our kids.
Having twins brings up all sorts of issues that we don't have to consider with children that come by-one-one. In particular, their individuality. Does one deliberately put twins into different classes and hobbies, or even schools, so that they develop their individuality, or does one allow them to decide how soon they are ready to diverge?
Last night Derek and I headed to an event at the Emerging Writer's Festival. The topic was 'sex in literature', which interested us for reasons that I'll share down the track, however the actual event was titled 'Dirty Words' and this proved to be the theme of the day.
I'd been hoping to hear a wide-ranging sample of writings about sex – some raunchy, some thoughtful, some 'dirty', some sacred – but most of what was presented was comic, sad or tacky. And it was all contemporary. The comic skits were, mostly, quite enjoyable, but by the time we got to the end we both left feeling flat and disappointed. It seemed to us that most people view sex as sex; there was nothing about making love, nothing about the sacredness or intimacy of that connection. I've decided that I must offer myself as a speaker next time and represent the 'Other Side'!
If you've been following my blogs, you'll be aware that Derek, my partner of 22 years, headed off to follow his dreams a few weeks ago. Last week my daughters and I travelled to NSW to visit him, expecting that we would then return to Melbourne and not see him again for another 10 weeks or so. (See previous blog entries: 'Trusting Our Paths', 'House Hunting', and 'Amazing Synchronicity').
Derek is returning home. His willingness to trust that urge to go north and not resist it allowed him to fully feel and experience what he needed to up there, and he is now complete with that journey and will be heading back home soon.